Built to Build: Blog



When you started your construction business, you didn’t set out to become an unpaid employee in a profitless business. 

You didn’t start your construction business so you could do a lot of paperwork, argue with strangers about the price of your estimates, and lose sleep wondering if you’d ever find the right employees.

You started your construction business because you wanted freedom.

You wanted freedom for yourself and for your family.

The problem is most construction business owners get stuck doing all the work.

You’re up early in the morning trying to get that estimate sent out, working all day fighting fires, and then missing dinner because things didn’t go as planned.

You feel isolated and alone because you’re not sure how to make this thing you call a business work.

You’ve created a mess. That’s the bad news.

The good news is what you’re experiencing is 100% normal.

The better news is there is a way to navigate your journey forward.



Growing your construction business in a purposeful, profitable way will require you to progress through the four phases of “The Contractor Journey.”

You must go from the Doer to the Thinker, to the Communicator, to the Leader.

And the only way to progress through this journey is to create systems so you can work ON the business instead of IN the business.



Here are the systems you need to implement at each phase of The Contractor Journey so you can stop being the Doer and become the Leader.



The first phase of the Contractor Journey is the Doer. Many construction business owners never make it out of this phase because they don’t have systems. The owner is the system.

Sales, estimating, production, project management, and about seventeen other systems all depend on the owner doing the work.

When the owner isn’t working, the systems aren’t operating.

Most construction business owners try to grow by doing more. 

The problem is there isn’t enough time in the day to do all the work, so the owner gets trapped in a brutal cycle of pricing work, getting work, producing work, and finding work.

This cycle has a name. It’s called The Craftsman Cycle® 

(Read more about how to break The Craftsman Cycle® in my book, Profit First for Contractors.)

The only way out of the Doer phase is to create a solid foundation of basic systems for your time, your sales, and your cash.

Prioritize your time with a weekly schedule so you can focus on the important things that grow your business instead of reacting to the urgent tasks that distract you from growth.

Create a sales script that prequalifies all your leads and weeds out the price shoppers. This same sales script will sell your value and get your ideal customers to “buy into” your process, and literally, pay you to do all the planning and estimating work you’ve been giving away for free.

Finally, you have to face your financials and create a system that manages your cash flow and guarantees profits at the same time. This system should be built on the one thing that will never change in your business – math. And the math doesn’t lie.

Enroll in the Built to Start program in the Built to Build Academy®, and you’ll get these foundational systems to break out of the Doer phase of the Contractor Journey.



Once you focus your time on your most important tasks, attract better clients who pay for your value, and you know what to charge to make a profit, then your business will grow.

And when you grow in a purposeful, profitable way, you’ll be in the second phase of The Contractor Journey – The Thinker.

This stage is where you must be thinking in systems. 

You’ll need a system for hiring so all the work doesn’t fall on your shoulders. You’ll need a system for producing fast, accurate proposals because your sales process is working. With more sales opportunities, you need a system to communicate your schedule. And you must have a system to deliver your services to your customers in a repeatable way.

Most Doers focus on top-line revenue. Thinkers focus on the bottom line.

The only way to get from the top line to the bottom line is through systems.

System creation requires thinking – thinking in systems.

If you want a system-by-system framework to go from the Doer to the Thinker, then enroll in the Built to Grow program in the Built to Build Academy®.



With A solid foundation in place and a framework for creating systems in your construction business, then it’s time to become The Communicator.

This third phase of The Contractor Journey is focused on you defining and refining two types of messages.

The first type of message is the external message you broadcast to the world. This is your marketing. 

Now that your sales process is dialed in and you are getting better customers, you’ll need an external message (aka Marketing message) that attracts cold leads and converts them into hot prospects.

The second type of message is the internal message you preach to your employees. 

You’re going to be hiring new team members in the Thinker phase, and you’ll need an efficient way to communicate “the way we do stuff around here.” You communicate this internal message through a series of specifically defined and organized meetings. Without these meetings, your people will not have the information they need to optimize the systems you created.

“In the absence of information, people make stuff up.” – Brad Hams, author of Ownership Thinking.

Organizing and disseminating information in a predictable and systematic way is the role of The Communicator.



The final phase of The Contractor Journey is defined by removing yourself from the day-to-day operations of the business. This is The Leader phase.

The Leader focuses on what matters – your numbers, your people, and your future.

At this stage your systems are in place to predict and produce income for the business, deliver and enhance your customer experience, direct and empower your people to perform the work, and allow you to attract other opportunities to grow.

Most construction business owners never reach this phase because they try to grow without systems in place and without a framework to enable others to grow.

This phase involves the unsexiest stuff of all – reviewing financial reports, predicting business trends, evaluating individual performance, and holding people accountable.

It’s not sexy, but it’s what The Leader does.

If you want to remove yourself from the day-to-day chaos, create systems to streamline your business, and build a team so you can just own the business, then you need a map to guide you through the four phases of The Contractor Journey.

Enroll in the Built to Lead program in the Built to Build Academy® and you’ll get the Built to Build Framework, which is the system-by-system plan to guide you through The Contractor Journey.



You’re going to stay trapped as The Doer without a plan for your time, your sales, and your cash.

The systems for hiring, estimating, scheduling, and delivery of your services won’t create themselves. You have to become The Thinker and think in systems in order to grow in a purposeful, profitable way. 

Word-of-mouth marketing sucks if you don’t control the words people say about you. This goes for your customers and your employees. Design and organize your external message so cold leads become hot prospects that are ready to buy from you. Create a clear meeting structure for your internal messaging so you retain all-star employees. Become The Communicator so your customers know what they get when they hire you, and your employees know how working for you will improve their lives.

Lead your business by removing yourself from your business so you can focus on what matters – your numbers, your people, and your future. Leaders create a clear picture of where the business is going and the freedom that comes along with that journey.

You can create a construction business that works for you instead of the other way around. 

You just need systems first. 

Not sure which phase of The Contractor Journey you’re at right now? Apply for a program in the Built to Build Academy®. 

You’re going to struggle until you have these systems in place.


Wish you could connect with like-minded business owners, ask questions, get feedback, and receive a ton of free resources to manage the “business side” of your construction business?

Then click here, join the System Builders™ online community for free, and get access to a ton of free trainings, resources, and your new peer group of professional contractors.


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